Cranberry Processing Facility to be Constructed on Richmond’s ALR
A leading producer of cranberry products, Ocean Spray, has recently received approval by the Richmond City council to build a brand new cranberry processing facility. The current facility located on No. 6 road does not have enough capacity to process all Richmond’s cranberries. The city grows approximately forty percent of the all the cranberries in British Columbia. The new facility will be constructed on land currently being used as a golf driving range near Choice School. The land will be swapped in a trade, with the owner of the driving range receiving the land from the No. 6 road location. The only hurdle for approval was the driving range land is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR): land which is supposed to be used for farming purposes. Richmond resident of seventy-two years Ruby Forch said “why can’t the current location be expanded instead of moving to an entire new location?” However Forch did admit that the current facility was old, as it used to be a blueberry processing facility many years ago when she owed a blueberry farm. Councillor Harold Steves remained adamant that land within the ALR should not be used for other purposes. Steves was the only councillor to vote against the proposal. Lifelong Richmond resident Clay McGregor states that “with a an expanded cranberry processing facility, there will be potential for increased agricultural development, which could include the expanding of cranberry fields on currently uncultivated portions of the ALR, thereby increasing farming in the ALR.” There is no word yet on when construction will start on the 26,000 square-foot facility.